Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Freeways, Expressways, Highways

Cee threw out another of her Photo Challenges this week, the topic being: Freeways, Expressways, Highways – in another words, roads where you can travel fast on.

She left me thinking of how very many places I’ve gotten to travel this past year, and how very different those places often were. I thought I’d put a couple of high contrast images on here as examples (contrast of places and temperatures, not necessarily photo technique).

The first was taken on my iPhone-5 (yes, I still have a 5 & would have my 4 if I hadn’t fallen on it while crossing a creek – what’s your point?)… while traveling on I-70, I believe, on my way toward Idaho Springs. It was last late July; but as we went up into those mountains on the Guanella Pass, the temperature dropped quickly from 80-something degrees to 40 degrees at the top.


Contrast that with the second image from the first of March this year in the Yei, South Sudan area (in which I dug quickly for my Nikon and stuck it against a dusted plane window around the propeller). I believe this should be the Kaya Highway down below (the large dirt road in front of the mountain range). You might also imagine the contrast in temperature, which was around 105 degrees when we flew out that day (and felt like 140 degrees on the plane), with temperatures that didn’t dip below 90 degrees even in the middle of the nights. I also don’t have to point out the contrast in the types of roadways.


As for speed…were you to see the ruts on the Kaya Highway, you would think, “that doesn’t meet Cee’s criterion of roads you can travel fast on.” True…unless you put it into perspective compared to the roads back in the gaba (the bush)…or unless you’re a UN truck on Kaya Hwy. You should see those convoys barreling down that road while waving all pedestrians, livestock, boda-bodas, and four-wheel vehicles out of their way (as if we’re not already wanting to give right of way of our own accord). “What ruts, they say? Only you, if you don’t get out of the way!” (Besides that, I was in a plane when I took this picture – okay, a puddle-jumper, to be exact – but I figure that added some extra speed when my photo was taken!)

Happy trails (and byways) to you!


Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

During a school screening in one of the villages after only a few days in South Sudan, I tried to soothe the children who waited, some a little uncertainly, as they sat upon benches to receive their wellness exams from the medical doctors. I only had so many words with which I could communicate in Juba Arabic, and I had already used most of those to take their arm and height measurements and get them to their seats; so I tried a universal language – song.

I understood that part of the reason for these children’s fears was because medical exams can be scary, even for adults. But these children also were not used to seeing “Khawaaja” – a word that technically means “foreigner” but they use for “white people” (who are recognizably foreign in the region of the very dark-skinned Southern Sudanese people). These children had displayed a realm of emotions about us being there – from open curiosity to unconcealed fear.

While sitting among these children, I began to sing “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” One of the teachers came up to the children with a big smile and assured them, “This is a good song.” In a world that sometimes acts otherwise, it’s one that has always comforted my heart. I wanted it to comfort theirs too.

This field trip into the bush also emphasized to me how very easy it is to love children, even when they do not/cannot always reciprocate that emotion. And that makes me understand how it must be so easy for Jesus to love us – because even when we are rejecting his love, or not reciprocating it, He still sees us as his children. We are precious in his sight.

Can you imagine the world in which we could live if we could all see one another through that same lens? What if we saw everyone through the lens that showed each person as a broken, hurting, fearful, precious child, in need of comfort and reassurance? Would we be so quick to dismiss others from our presence who weren’t like us, in any number of ways?

Amer, asfar, asuwed, abiyad,
We are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

So those are the thoughts that came to my mind when I read the Weekly Photo Challenge on One Love this week. And it caused me to take a little photo editing liberty to make my own “abiyad” as freakishly obvious in this portrait as it may sometimes appear to those little ones, while still portraying the contrasting oneness of a precious shared moment across the world.

Asuwed + Abiyad = One Love


Recipe for Baking Earth Pie – in honor of Earth Day

I thought I’d rerun this, in honor of Earth Day:

Carl Sagan is credited with saying, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

So I thought, ‘Who isn’t up for a good geography lesson on the earth’s layers – while hanging out at the dinner table, eating a worthy illustration made of ooey-gooey pie?’ I figured we could have our pie and live on it too!


Brick oven in South Sudan

Insert two parts core.

Center, magnetize, stir

at faster rotational pace.

Layer mantle. Use

Easybake oven, circulating heat.

Add crust.

Thin, crispiness of

Continents, ocean floors,

oozing volcano pie.

Serve on tectonic plates.

Yei, South Sudan

Here’s to earth pie in your eye! -jody


The ingredients & recipe for Earth Pie were originally written in response to:

Trifecta’s weekend Trifextra Writing Challenge forty-nine: As you’ll recall from your elementary science class days, the structure of the earth can be divided most simply into three sections: core, mantle, crust.  (Diagram is below.) Give us 33 words from it.  Interpret the prompt however you wish–literal, metaphorical, or somewhere in between.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


And while we’re talking about the Earth, did you know there are still people dying on it every 60 seconds from a disease that is strictly related to poverty and that is both treatable & preventable?

That disease is malaria – and it especially strikes out against young lives. Of the children who die under the age of 5 in Africa, approximately 1 in 5 of those is from malaria. (The photos above were taken in South Sudan, where many of these children live – and die.)

Just $10 could make a difference in saving that 1 life. Here’s a little more information, if you’re interested in celebrating Earth Day on behalf of people who struggle to survive on it daily:

Imagine No Malaria – Break the Cycle

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up!

Things are Looking Up in South Sudan:

Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.


I’m participating in the onlineadventure travel and photography magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers. This week’s Challenge is: Look Up, so venture into nature and point your lens above you!

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunrise!

The foggy anticipation…


whether from our own front yards…

Sunrise over Glorious Appalachian Foothills

Sunrise over Glorious Appalachian Foothills

or stretching to the other side of the world – 

Morning Heat Rise

Morning Heat Rise in South Sudan

sunrise greets us all with the promise of new possibilities.

Embrace your own sunrise potential today.


I’m participating in the onlineadventure travel and photography magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers. This week’s Challenge is: Sunrise, so get up early this week and take some shots of the sky!

SAVE A LIFE by Using Your Imagination!!!

ImaginationImagination. We too often forget its power.

That envisioning power that moves us to act.

When I was younger…

I imagined being a teacher.

I imagined falling in love.

I imagined becoming an explorer.

And I’ve gotten to experience each of these wonderful things – sometimes more than once!

But I also imagined contributing something great to society. Something worthwhile. Have you ever imagined that too? But what? With the giving season upon us, I can’t help but be reminded of the story of the little drummer boy and how he wanted to bring something special to the newborn babe of Christmas. What could I possibly have to bring?

At least I’m asking a better question. You know, a better one that “What can I possibly get for myself?” The fact is, I know I already have more than I need. Most of us do.

Whenever I fuss about my closet being too small, I think of the small village huts in South Sudan in which an entire large family lives (if they all live) that aren’t any bigger than one room in my house.

Whenever my air conditioning goes out (always in the hottest part of the summer, I grumble), I remember how my brothers & sisters in South Sudan only have ‘open air’ all year long – to whatever they’ve been conditioned, where it’s over 100 degrees Fahrenheit week after scorching week.

Whenever I turn my nose up at my abundance of dinner choices…okay, you get the idea.

So what can I possibly give that will make a difference in this world?

I can only imagine…

The holiday season brings with it an attitude to imagine great possibilities in our lives and in our world.

For me, as I try to follow the teachings of Jesus, it’s a time when I contemplate the meaning of his very being coming into this world. What must it have been like for my LORD, the GOD of the Universe, to squeeze and constrict Himself into the soft, fleshy, awkward body of a tiny baby boy? On the one hand, we Christians like to imagine him there, all snuggled up in warm cuddly blankets, lying peacefully in that precious little manger on that first Christmas Eve. Then reality hits us. (Or it needs to.) The King of Kings has been given a place in a smelly cave full of livestock (who, by the way, generally leave behind slobber when they’re eating from that manger). That’s where his birth took place. He was lying in that manger (and possibly no more peacefully than any other babe that’s ever been born) because there was no room for him anywhere else in his world. Apparently, the earth was too busy to take notice of his arrival or to care about his existence. I’m left to ask myself – how often might I have declined an invitation to make a difference in someone else’s life for far less substantial reasons than that? I can’t even imagine.

And yet, He still didn’t hesitate to come!

While we’re imagining, let me ask you another important question.
How often have you had a chance to SAVE someone else’s life?

vulnerable childrenWell, it just so happens that, this holiday season, you can.

Imagine that.

I’ve found that I have the ability to SAVE A LIFE for $10.00. And the best part is that large administrative costs don’t get scraped off the top. (Yeah, I watch for things like that with charitable organizations that can turn out to be most charitable to themselves. But not on this one.)

Could I really live with myself knowing that I could have fore-gone some expendable $10.00 item for myself – even 1 meal if I had to – to SAVE A(n un-expendable) LIFE?

Imagine your $10.00 buying a mosquito netting or funding spraying that is necessary to prevent Malaria. Imagine the most vulnerable Malaria victims – children under the age of 5 – who will have the opportunity to live a full life thanks to your caring & generosity.

INM_wreathClicking on the image above or this link will take you to a place where you can SAVE A LIFE: http://www.causes.com/actions/1717866

John Lennon once sang these words, years ago, and I can’t imagine how they wouldn’t apply to this appeal today:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

This money doesn’t go through me and definitely doesn’t come to me. Heck, I won’t even get “credit” for it if you decide you want to honor or memorialize someone with a gift for the holidays. Unless you tell me about it, I’ll never even know if I made one ounce of difference when you read this (or even if you made it this far). I won’t even know which lives were saved.

But, you can be assured…


I’m going to imagine it!

Clicking on the image above or this link will take you to a place where you can SAVE A LIFE: http://www.causes.com/actions/1717866

Christmas Treasures

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When things seem hectic this Christmas season and you forget what it’s all about,
I implore you to think of each child of God who this year may go without
A loved one, a present or even a tree, or no house for some it would seem.
To have such a Christmas wish as these fulfilled would only come in a dream.


So no matter how tired or frazzled or worn with shopping you may be,
Don’t forget these blessed loved ones whose pain could keep you on bended knee.
And if you’re one of these precious dears of whom you’ve heard me speak,
Please place me in your sacred prayers, that I do not forget the meek.


For it is you who will inherit the kingdom of our mighty Father in heaven
Know you are not forgotten, only spread here amongst us as leaven.
It is you to whom we have been assigned to care for as God’s own,
To live life by His example, the loving Christ who sits on His throne.


He sits there not to judge us by what we may fail to complete,
Yet through his mercy, his grace and his love, he sits upon this seat.
This seat, meek ones, shall be yours too, to sit before and pray
As will be any one of ours who knows the babe of Christmas day.


There still exists a greater danger, that we could see His guiding star
But never choose to follow it, only view it from afar.
So what will you say, people of Christ, will you do your worship in the mall?
Or will you answer as the shepherds did, and humble yourselves to a stall?


Set down your duties, leave behind your cares, cast your worries aside
Answer your blessed Savior – clothe and feed the lesser ones…
Store Christmas treasures that will abide.

© 2009 Jody Love


Looking for a practical way this Christmas to store up your treasures in heaven while still here on earth? Then I pray you’ll look into this opportunity (at the link below):

Christmas gift idea: Change Children’s Lives in South Sudan

Here’s the address link to copy & paste (in case the above link disappears again):


Lest you wonder about the authenticity of what will become of your gift…not only do I personally know the people tirelessly and lovingly doing these wonderful works in South Sudan, but here’s the original picture of the sweet, precious face you see in the article linked above, straight off the SD card in my own camera. And lest you feel you do not know me well enough, please continue to follow my blog and I will periodically highlight the missions work in the Yei, South Sudan area, so you can see God’s awesome hand at work for yourself. (And, no, I get nothing from this but the satisfaction of sharing an opportunity with you to share that love.)

Yei Sudan

Author’s note regarding the poem: I penned this poem one day while reflecting upon what I wanted Christmas to be about in my heart, and some of the ways I didn’t want it to play out in my household (with ‘more, more, more’ of nothingness). This was the first poem that I ever publicly shared by slipping it into my Notes on Facebook during the Christmas season. I was honored to next find it posted on my niece-in-law’s (is that a real term?) blog site, Everseexpressions, and then, by greater surprise, in our church bulletin during the holiday season (church secretaries are apparently quite stealthy on Facebook – an important point to remember!). Grace & peace to you this holiday season, -jody

The Curse of the CRUSH

The excruciating pain of the crush
never once defeated the spirit
any more than any such pain caused
a boulder to become a pile of gravels.


Only the continual, steadfast assault
of the aggressor,
to wreak destruction on
that which the solid rock once was,

assailing its strength –


within the vulnerable crevices of its being –

Eventually wearing it down,
convincing this broken stone that it will
no longer possess any greater value than
its pulverized parts

now keeping it from being WHOLE.


If only it could
the use of its parts
as a Stronger Foundation
to the wholeness of
Something once more

Made NEW.

© 2012 Jody Love

(The Spirit of South Sudan)


I’m taking on the Trifecta Writing Challenge this week on CRUSH. If you’d like to vote on my entry (or others) or even enter your own, follow this link.